House of the Dead: Overkill Wii Review

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The Nintendo Wii, eh? Everyone loves it. It’s got that Wii Fit on it, and the boxing one, and that Sonic Olympics game. It’s for kids, and people who have kids. And then you buy a copy of House of the Dead: Overkill and oh my god the intro is just a video of a woman with incredible breasts dancing up and down a pole while some rock ‘n’ roll plays in the background.

Unless you’ve never stepped into an arcade in your entire life, you’ll be aware that House of the Dead is a series of excellent zombie-blasting lightgun arcade games that Sega have been putting out for the last ten years or so, including some utterly wonderful spin-offs (Typing of the Dead, we salute you). As good as the games are, though, the dialogue and stories have often been so utterly terrible that they’ve had a cheap B-movie charm to them. And it’s this quality that Overkill – developed exclusively for the Wii rather than the arcades – siezes upon, with wonderful, funny, and occasionally vomit-inducing results.

The game itself plays like your standard on-rails shooter – you’re pushed around a bunch of spooky environments while you point your Wii remote (or hand cannon – more on that later) at the screen and hammer the B button in a desperate bid to avoid getting your face chewed off by zombies. Oh, did we say ‘zombies’? We meant MUTANTS – allegedly, Sega were very keen to make sure the ‘z’ word is scarcely used in the game, because certain folks in Japan go utterly apeshit over it, since it’s disrespectful to the deceased. Why this matters when the game’s characters are just as disrespectful to the living is beyond me, but hey ho.

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What’s excellent about Overkill is that if all you want is a dumbed-down shooting gallery with loads of brilliant swearing, that’s all it needs to be. Play through the game with a mate, earn some cash and buy yourself a machine-gun to replace the standard magnum (accuracy is for losers, anyway), then play through the game some more. You’ll have a respectable amount of laughs along the way, and it doesn’t matter if you die – your points get cut in half, but who’s keeping score? Not you, that’s for certain. If you haven’t got a friend with you, grab a second controller anyway and use both of them yourself, preferably with the SMG equipped. It’s amazing.

If, on the other hand, you’re fully aware that video games are SERIOUS BUSINESS, there’s a whole load of stuff to get your teeth into. The game has a bunch of Xbox 360-esque achievements, including one for playing an entire level ‘gangsta style’ – that is, holding your Wii remote sideways at all times. Blat blat. On top of that, there’s the combo meter – kill zombies without missing a shot or getting hit, and your combo meter builds up until it reaches ‘goregasm’. Shut up, it’s funny. As long as you maintain this combo level, your score will rocket upwards, thus netting you more cash at the end of the level which allows you to buy more guns, and upgrade the ones you already own. Then there’s director’s cut mode, unlocked after you finish the main game, which takes you through the game’s levels via different routes, and throws roughly twice as many zom.. er, mutants at you. Plus there’s a few four-player minigames which are much more fun than they have any right to be. So, while the main game is kind of short (we polished it off in two evening sessions), there’s plenty of reason to come back for more.

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Of course, the best thing about Overkill isn’t the game itself – it’s the breathtaking amount of swearing. Most of it expertly spat out by supporting character Isaac Washington, it’s absolutely childish, but feels so brilliantly out of place on the Wii that you can’t help but giggle at it. And one particular cut-scene begs the important question: what does it take to pacify a bitch?

Okay, so it won’t get the Lost Odyssey team shaking in their boots, but it’s funny as hell nonetheless. And if you think the occasional f-bomb is pretty tame, just you wait until the ending sequence. You simply will not believe what you’re seeing, and you’ll definitely want to shake the hand of the guys at Sega and Nintendo who approved the game for release, in spite of the Wii’s family-friendly image.

Now, the hand-cannon. As you’re probably aware, it’s an optional peripheral available for about a tenner that resembles a massive revolver. Put simply, it’s a really nice bit of kit – it allows the remote to clip in quickly and securely, and the placement of the remote gives it a nice weight that leans towards the end of the barrel, thus reducing the sensation that you’re just waving a lump of plastic around. We’ve certainly spent just as much money on cheap imitations from China that require a bit of sandpapering before the Wii remote will even fit in them.

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So, Overkill, then. It’s a solid game that avoids irritating both the casual and hardcore audiences, it’s even more fun if you can get a few friends over, and it’s really funny. It loses a couple of marks for the occasionally dodgy frame-rate and the fact that it could hardly be considered innovative, but really, if you find things that like spoiling your enjoyment of the game, you need to get a grip. Double the score if you have a totally puerile sense of humour.

Yes, double it.
8/10

by

HotD: Overkill boxart

Version tested: Wii

Developer: Headstrong Games

Publisher: Sega

Genre: On-rails shooter

Players: 1-2